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Minergy upbeat on Masama project

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… More coal resources are discovered

….Production to start next year

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE)-listed Minergy Limited has announced that drilling and exploration conducted at its Masama Coal project during 2017 had established a significant increase in the size of the coal reserves. The recent Competent Persons Report (CPR) found that the quality of the coal was also better than previously indicated. “Comparing the 2016 and 2017 estimates, the total coal resource for the project area increased from 347.1 Mt to 389.9 Mt, an improvement of 12 percent.

“Of this, the opencast area has increased from 71.2 Mt to 82.3 Mt, which translates into 25 years of opencast operations,” said Minergy CEO, Andre Bojé, adding that management was exceptionally pleased with the revised CPR and especially the improved yields. This is good news for the company, which listed on the BSE in April 2017 and plans to build an opencast coal mine at Masama with the potential to produce 2,4 Mt per annum.

The company will focus on delivering high-quality coal to the regional market, including Botswana and South Africa as well as to the export market. The Masama Coal Project, located in the south-western corner of Botswana’s Mmamabula coalfield is near to existing rail, road and water infrastructure. It also has significant distance advantages over existing competing suppliers to regional customers, which attributes offer great potential for the southern African region and the export market.

The size of the resource also supports scalable production, presenting an opportunity to provide export coal to traders who supply India, China, and other areas of Asia, as well as Europe, should international coal price remain stable. Bojé stated that for the first time a measured resource was declared totalling 12.7 Mt and the overall indicated resource increased from 61.7 Mt to 73.2 Mt, a 19 percent increase.

“The exploration programme vindicates our decision to focus on a reduced area of the overall prospecting area with a view to a long-term project supplying the regional market and ultimately the seaborne thermal coal market.” While average raw coal qualities for the project remained similar, inherent moisture was notably lower and the A Seam in the underground areas showed considerably improved qualities. Bojé said that theoretical yields of the primary product were considerably improved where the theoretical yield improved from 63 percent to 66.4 percent. Minergy will be the second producer of coal in Botswana, and is committed to being on the forefront of developing a vibrant coal industry in the country. “All our timelines for the project have now been met and we are confident of being in production in the third quarter of 2018,” concluded Bojé.

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SMEs benefit from Consumer Fair growth

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The Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) has applauded Botswana Consumer Fair’s continued efforts to improve small to medium enterprises’ linkages.

BITC Chief Executive Officer, Keletsositse Olebile, when opening the fair, said the event has provided interactive forum for both local and foreign exhibitors. He said the shopping show has enabled manufacturers, wholesalers and traders to market their products directly to consumers, an alignment to government’s endeavors.

“As part of government intention, we continually encourage local sourcing by retailers and distributors,” said Olebile who is just few months into his new post. He further celebrated the growth of Botswana Consumer Fair over the years, attributing the expansion to quality of goods displayed at the previous shows.“Improved quality and increased variety of wares increases the interest of the visitors and makes them look forward to returning the following year,” said Olebile.

This year’s exhibitors at the 13th event still running under the banner: ‘It is more than just shopping’ have been drawn from Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt, Japan, India, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Consumer Fair is a flagship event for Fairgrounds Holdings and provides a platform for small medium enterprises (SMEs) from the different sectors of the economy to showcase and promote their products and services. In addition, the SMEs are expected to establish long term business linkages and promote local manufactured goods.Fairgrounds Holdings is already optimistic that the Fair immensely contribute to the socio-economic development of the country through supporting SMEs.

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‘Involve SMMEs in standards development’-Minister

Keikantse Lesemela

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Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo appealed to Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) to include the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) when developing the standards to improve the sector.

She said the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry has identified three areas of focus going forward which are modeled on SMME development, investment promotion and export development apexes. “I would like to implore you to include this sector in standards development processes and assist in improving SMMEs conformity to standards and compliance to technical regulations,” said Kenewendo.

Speaking during the BOBS Technical Committee Members appreciation ceremony on Thursday, Kenewendo explained that the important roles of standards are underpinned by the aspirations and intentions espoused in both diversified export led economic growth and job creation as priority areas. “It goes without saying that the diversification of the economy requires a National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework that promote competitiveness of Botswana goods and services.”

She also emphasized that an effective National Quality Infrastructure and Technical Regulatory Framework are essential as they provide crucial links to global trade, market access and export competitiveness through their contribution to consumer confidence in product safety, quality and the environment.Since inception in 1997 BOBS has published more than 1700 standards through 48 technical committees across several sectors of the economy; 109 certification licences have been issued against some of these standards. Currently 46 Botswana Standards are being implemented through the standards regulations with a view to protecting the health and safety of consumers as well as protection of the environment.

On her note, BOBS Vice Chairperson of the Standards Council, Professor Edward Dintwa said standards are powerful tools for helping organisations that implement them to realize their potential, have access and compete in the global marketplace. “In this highly competitive and complex world, issues of sustainability and productivity, viewed from economic, environmental and societal perspectives require that businesses must be more efficient in their operations, which can be achieved through the implementation of standards”.

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